Seminoles’ Impact On The NFL: Alumni Success Stories

Florida State running back Trey Benson (3) is lifted, in celebration of his touchdown, by offensive lineman Jazston Turnetine during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Florida State has delivered an ultra-impressive group of NFL alumni throughout its history. In celebration of FSU and the Seminoles’ impact on the NFL, today’s article will highlight the most noteworthy success stories in football history.

Florida State

Jalen Ramsey

It would appear that the football career of Jalen Ramsey has been filled with success and acclaim. After his 2013 national championship as a freshman at Florida State, he established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the nation. At the fifth overall decision of the 2016 NFL Draft, he was acquired by the Jacksonville Jaguars, an organization where his success persisted.

Ramsey distinguished himself as a lockdown cornerback for the Jaguars during his rookie year and for the first three seasons of his career. Despite narrowly missing out on Rookie of the Year honors in his rookie year, he established himself as an All-Pro defensive back in his second season, assisting the Jaguars in reaching the AFC championship game 2017.

A year and a half ago, this exceptional lockdown corner contributed to the Los Angeles Rams’ triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, making that an additional ring in his collection. His success and status as an exceptional secondary asset continue with the Miami Dolphins, a team that’s become incredibly popular with betting enthusiasts this season due to an amazing line-up.

He has appeared in the last six Pro Bowls and has been named a First Team All-Pro defensive back three times. Ramsey is yet another exceptional defensive back to emerge from this Seminoles program. His narrative has yet to reach its culmination, as he’s the only player on today’s list who remains an active professional for the NFL, and with an ESPN Bet promo code, supporters can back this FSU alumnus at the bookmakers. 

Fred Bilentnikoff

During the 1960s and 1970s, Fred Biletnikoff was unprecedented as a wide receiver regarding consistency and aptitude. Before joining the Oakland Raiders, he was drafted by both the AFL and NFL in 1965 after spending nearly six decades as a star at Florida State.

Biletnikoff recorded a career-high 12 touchdown receptions in 1969, Oakland’s last season before the NFL’s inception. However, that was by no means the extent of his accomplishments. It was his inaugural season as a First Team All-Pro and one of six Pro Bowl appearances throughout his tenure.

Throughout the majority of the 1970s, he was a primary pass catcher and starting receiver for the Raiders. In 1978, he was also named the MVP of Super Bowl XI. Although his statistics appear less remarkable compared to contemporary football, he was among the most exceptional players of his time.

Walter Jones

Walter Jones competed as a tight end and offensive lineman at the community college level before establishing himself as a lineman at Florida State in the mid-1990s. Jones, a Second-Team All-American in 1996, declared himself an NFL rookie the following year when joining the Seahawks twelve months earlier than expected but had zero regrets about it.

Jones was, without dispute, the preeminent offensive lineman of the early 20th century. His contribution was crucial to the success of the Seattle Seahawks under the leadership of Mike Holmgren, who was appointed before Jones’ third season in the NFL.

Jones was named First Team All-Pro for four consecutive seasons and was selected to the Pro Bowl in eight of those seasons for nine selections. Ten playoff contests saw him start for Seattle, including their Super Bowl XL defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Derrick Brooks 

In the early 1990s, Derrick Brooks excelled as a linebacker for Florida State, earning a national championship and two All-American honors. Although the Seminoles knew that their formidable defense contained a significant weapon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers undoubtedly obtained one as well.

Brooks’s impact at Tampa Bay was significant, and he was selected to eleven Pro Bowls. He was a five-time First-Team All-Pro and, on three occasions, led the NFL in tackles. He amassed 25 interceptions and forced an equal number of fumbles in his tenure, contributing significantly to their elite defense.

Brooks recorded an NFL-record three pick-sixes in 2002, and he added a fourth in Super Bowl XXXVII, thereby contributing to the Buccaneers’ first championship in franchise history. With that championship, he, a full-time starter and primary instrument for Tampa, experienced his moment in the limelight.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders, affectionately referred to as “Prime Time,” was a significant contributor during his entire playing career, including his time at Florida State and in the NFL. He was a two-time All-American and Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s finest defensive back during his tenure as a Seminole in the late 1980s. He maintained that honor for the duration of his professional career.

Sanders was appointed to the Atlanta Falcons with the fifth overall selection of the 1989 NFL Draft and spent his initial five seasons with the team. In those seasons with the Falcons, he accumulated 24 interceptions, including all three initial visits to the Pro Bowl.

Following back-to-back Super Bowl victories, Sanders was a member of the San Francisco 49ers for the 1994 season before joining the Dallas Cowboys. In addition to being a legendary kick returner, he was a six-time First-Team All-Pro selection, with three of those tremendous seasons occurring with the Cowboys in the late 1990s.

His accomplishments are even more remarkable because he played baseball for most of his NFL career.